My recent crash has put me in the mood to write about safety gear and riding safely.


Because I hope and pray that this missive will save the life and or the the hide of someone I care about and who knows, that could be you.

I have lost many people I love in the motorcycle community over the almost 40 years I have been a part of it. The crew I rode with back in the 70's and 80's wore jeans and sometimes chaps, beanies or no helmet when and where the law allowed and often just a leather vest, with no shirt or jacket.

I was one of those riders/passengers. I often rode on sunny warm days with just good motorcycle boots, jeans and a vest and the only helmet I owned was a beanie.

I thought I was hot stuff.  I looked good, and I loved the way the sun felt on my skin, I hated it when a bug or rock hit me, but when I was in my 20's & 30's it was a small price to pay for looking good.

EGO - VANITY, call it what you will - STUPIDITY!

Then I got a wake up call and realized looking good was a stupid reason to not wear proper gear.

In 1986, riding on the back of the '84 FXR with my then old man, Ron LePoidvin,  I witnessed something so horrific that I was puking my guts out.

Not unlike the girl featured in this photo, (I found doing a Google Images search on, the girl on the back of this dude's sport bike was wearing a bikini,

AND she was much better endowed than the girl featured here. She was at least a 38 double D and instead of wearing high heels, she was wearing flip flops, but she had on that full faced helmet.
I was rather envious of the buxom young lady, she looked great.

Well, buddy goes roaring by us as we are entering a construction zone on the outskirts of Vernon BC.

In less than 2 minutes, we came upon the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed.

The rider centre punched the back end of a pick up, but unlike the rider in the photo above, he was wearing all the gear.  He ended up in the box of the pick up, she got launched over the pick up and ended up skidding down the shoulder of the pavement for some 200 feet or better. I don't remember where the bike ended up, because I was so horrified.

While buddy ended up with some broken bones and a long recovery, he survived the crash.

His pretty, pretty passenger was dead. Her beautiful face intact thanks to the full faced helmet she wore but her statuesque figure was now nothing more than ground hamburger, you could see her ribs  where once those glorious Double D 38's had been.  Her thighs and legs and her feet and arms were no better.  It is a sight that I see every time I see another rider not wearing good gear.

I am sure her parents were grateful that they could still view her pretty face at her funeral.

Having been young once, although it was a long time ago, I still remember the feeling, men wolf whistling at me, feeding my ego, telling me how hot I looked in that leather vest with no jacket.

But that day cured me of wanting to look sexy on a motorcycle.

I learned really quickly that there was plenty of time to look hot once I got to a rally or event.
When I was off the bike, I could stash my leather jacket and don just the vest and still have my ego fed. In my mid 50's today, I don't give a hoot about sexy or having my ego fed, although it still feels nice once in a while.

After my crash on May 24th, 2014, I could have looked like Sean Stanley from the UK who shared this photo of himself on Facebook:

His crash happened last year in the UK at 25 MPH.
His comment was:  To all the people on motorbikes wearing t-shirts and shorts thinking they are cool, this is the result of coming off at 25mph

Imagine the pain that the road rash he sported caused him.
Imagine the scars and the gravel that he's probably still having surface from his wounds to this day!

My crash happened at about 30-35KPH on gravel, I was never more grateful for good gear.

Instead of looking like Sean, I just have some torn cartilage in my chest around my sternum, deep tissue bruising, sore muscles and a black bruise on my thigh.

No road rash and no gravel to pick out of my hide.  No trip to the hospital.

I was wearing:
Draggin' Jeans that cost about $250.00 - no chaps:
Kevlar Impact Zones

Not a mark on the jeans!
Held Gloves from Angel Wing Trading Inc. and sold by WestCoast ROAR in Mill Bay, BC that cost around $150.00:
The glove is torn but my hide on my hand is not.
Viking Cycle Leather Jacket from Motorcycle House that cost about $100:
The brand new jacket on its maiden ride -  the leather is worn, but I have no road rash on my right arm!
Vest from Leather & Steel in Fruitvale BC - Cost about $90 (I have worn this vest for 12 years and am going to miss it...

Tore the snap right out of the vest and tore some of my favourite pins off of it,  but again, I have zero road rash
Milwaukee Boots bought at Konquer Motorcycles, Kelowna BC and cost about $165:
Some road rash on these babies but my feet are in tact and no worse for wear!
My VOSS helmet from Roadhouse Distribution in Vancouver BC, sold by Leather & Steel in Fruitvale BC and cost about $100:
The ear protector is shot, but my ear is fine, it was sure filled with dirt and grit though!

I would much rather get up off the ground swearing like a truck driver or a sailor and being sad that my bike was written off than be carted off to the hospital in an ambulance and facing a long and painful recovery.  

I'd much rather pull into the driveway at home in a truck and trailer than be in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

The cost of my crash?

My bike got written off and a few of my contents from the bike will need to be either repaired or replaced.   I was able to replace my bike with a bit of financial help from my husband to bridge the gap between insurance and the price of replacing.

My Held Gloves ($150)

My helmet ($100) and I have a helmet from LeatherUp to do a product review on already sitting here so I am good to go.

My vest ($90) which was 12 years old, could be repaired - and even though I love it, it should be replaced. 

My jacket ($100) will need to be replaced. 
Since I was doing a product review on the jacket, there was no physical cost to me and I own 2 other riding jackets, so I am good to go.

Your gear is meant to save your life and to allow you to ride again and be a consumer again.

Your gear is meant to add freedom and quality to your life, to enriched the ride, not detract from it.

Your gear is meant to protect you from road debris, rocks, sand, cigarettes, garbage bags, road snakes and every other bit of crap people can create.

Your gear is meant to give your loved ones a bit of reassurance that you will be home, reasonably safe and sound, because they love and need you.

I am blessed to be alive and it is because these manufacturers and the shops who sell these products really do seem to want you to be able to buy more gear from them when you need to replace it.  

You are, after all of no use to them as a customer if you don't survive.

That said, you still need to really research the gear you are thinking of buying!  
What appeals to me may not appeal to you.

Read product reviews, watch videos, ask your fellow riders - RESEARCH!!!! 
Not only can it save you money but it can save you in many other ways!

You should try the gear on before you buy to ensure a good fit, so go to your local shop and support your local economy whenever you can.  

If you live in a remote place where online shopping is the only way to shop outside of once and twice a year trips to larger centres, then make sure you review the refunds and shipping policies of the online companies you choose to work with.  And don't forget to ask that retailer in the larger centre that you shop in if they will ship to you and if so what their returns policy might be.  Sometimes a phone call to a not so local, local can be well placed!

You just never know if you can support your local business, because when you are a rider, local means a lot different to us than it does to others!

What say you?

If you are blessed to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you and please consider dressing for the slide and not the ride!

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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  1. I have been in 2 bike crashes before 1st time didn't go down but the second time I did was wearing a custom made leather jacket from d and r leather in Calgary 1200 bucks to make that jacket saved my life in that second crash and as I skidded down hwy 1 near chase bc I broke my right leg but zero road rash and my jacket was torn up good but Lloyd at d & r repaired my jacket and even with a broken leg I still hobbled away. I'm at that point in life where looking cool does not matter anymore and safety is my real concern I still cringe when some guy races by me on a crotch rocket wearing shorts flip flops and a t shirt I hope your artical makes someone think more about safety than style

  2. I was the unfortunate victim of an inattentive driver last Sunday. She turned left, across my lane, as I was approaching from less than 25 feet away at 70km/h.
    It was hot last Sunday. 26 degrees celsius.
    And my 12 kilo Scorpion Armored motorcycle jacket, my DOT Bell helmet, my Answer armored riding boots and my armored full finger leather gloves all did their jobs perfectly.
    I suffered 2 broken ankles when they caught the handlebars as I was vaulted from the bike. A cut on my leg from my windshield. And that is it. No roadrash. No extensive trauma. No concussion.
    We, as riders, do not have the luxury of knowing WHEN the accident will happen. But we have the choice to be prepared for it.
    Wear ALL the proper gear.
    ALL the time.
    And enjoy the ride.

  3. Wow, that's crazy what you saw. You are totally right, nothing is worth the potential risk you can face if you don't take the proper precautions for your safety. Thanks for writing this, man, a lot of people need to hear it


  4. I keep seeing ppl riding in shorts bare feet and crocs...not only opis that ugly and in poor taste...but it's dumb as a sack o hammers.

  5. I went over in the middle of an intersection (totally my fault, no one else involved), thought I'd broken my leg where it was hit by the seat, felt like there was a nasty, bloody road rash on my elbow where I'd slid on the pavement and that my nice, new, white MC jacket was torn and ruined. No broken leg, and no nasty road rash (just a small abrasion the size of a quarter just above my elbow) because I was totally protected by my jacket, which had not a mark on it. I always wear all-the-gear, all-the-time, but this was a great example of why I should.